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530                              LIFE  OF
had not quite so much, time at his command.     c- You
must remember," lie writes.,  on the 22nd October,
1803, "that  my business here lias  little to do  with
politics.    It does not therefore oblige me, as another
embassy would, to spend my time in going to parties,
and still less have   I many cares or responsibilities.
The most important part   of my duties  consists in
single   commissions;   these  generally  refer  only   to
private  interests, and  are important to me  only in
so far as it is expected that I should execute them
in one or the other way; anc!7 as it is interesting to
prevent, as far as possible., the influence which they
wish to  extend from  Rome  over the  most   distant
places.    These things do indeed cost time,, they oc-
cupy several days of the week, if I include the ex-
tensive correspondence they entail, and the  writing^
visitingj &c.    The political correspondence, though it
is a mere communication of news, has to be made,
and,  as I  do  everything myself, it certainly needs
some degree of industry and order to accomplish all
this,  and have  some leisure   besides/7     In this he
succeeded., and as he had wished to be forced to a
regular application  of  his time,   by  some  business
compulsion, there was no cause to regret his choice and
determinatio n.
The post of the Prussian Ambassador to the papal
court was a very favourable one at that period, and
has probably never be^n so to such a degree since
then. Before Pius VI L? who had only a short time
previously succeeded to the holy chair, Prussia had no
standing embassy in Rome. But at this period, for
the first time for centuries^ the Holy See was-
threatened by violence, and from a principal partisan
of Catholicism, while the other partizan had enough
to do to protect itself, so that it could not save others.
The straggle of France against the papal power,
€ommenced already at the end of the eighteenth
csoatory ; the head of the church was deposed and
imprisoned. In 1SOO? the country was cleared of its
•enemies, who? however,, carried off some of the most